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Did most dinosaurs have feathers ?

Posted on Saturday, 7 July, 2012 | Comment icon 33 comments

Image credit: Nobu Tamura

A new well preserved fossil find suggests that feathered dinosaurs may have been quite common.

Palaeontologists have been identifying an increasing number of feathered dinosaur species in recent years. The discovery of a 150-million-year-old theropod in Germany covered in a thick plumage is now helping to cement the view that feathers were likely to be far more prevalent than previously thought. Finding fossils showing feather coverage is difficult however as their preservation requires very specific conditions.

"We need more examples in both non-coelurosaurian theropods, and particularly in the other big dinosaur groups, before we can really speculate that these features are a character of dinosaurs as a whole," said Palaeontologist Paul Barrett.

"Feathers didnít start with birds. Plumage of various sorts - from simple fuzz to the complex structures used for flight - adorned dinosaurs first, and was only later inherited by birds."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by Arbitran on 15 July, 2012, 21:31
Get used to it. Yutyrannus huali was discovered in China a few months ago. Oh, ha, I apologize! I didn't notice!
Comment icon #25 Posted by ShadowSot on 15 July, 2012, 21:34
No worries, I'm just ribbing. We've only gottenso far with coloration, I wonder if there were dinosaurs as vibrantly plumed as some of our modern day birds. Just to nip this off, dinosaurs didn't live in the sea, those were marine reptiles. While they were almost exclusively warm blooded and gave live birth, they did not have feathers. they were also cooler and scarier than their land dwelling cousins. Just saying.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Arbitran on 15 July, 2012, 21:37
Indeed. I look forward to the next major full-body colouration determination they do. Archaeopteryx has always been one of my favorite dinosaurs, ever since I was young, and I always pictured it being vibrant; almost like a quetzal or something... this year they had to break it to me that it basically looked like a crow. I still love it.
Comment icon #27 Posted by ShadowSot on 15 July, 2012, 21:55
Hey, I like how crows look. Even had a semi- tame one at the shop that'd pick up food left for it. Besides, they travel with Odin. Anything with that company's alright in my book.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Arbitran on 15 July, 2012, 21:57
Hear hear!
Comment icon #29 Posted by Junior Chubb on 15 July, 2012, 22:37
After reading through this thread, I think a remake of The Birds might be more fitting...
Comment icon #30 Posted by lightly on 16 July, 2012, 0:07
Wow, good info ShadowSot . First i've heard about the warm blooded marine reptiles . Makes me think.. 'warmer seas'. (thanks for the dino feather info too)
Comment icon #31 Posted by Odin11 on 16 July, 2012, 6:53
Hey, my Huginn and Muninn are not common crows. They're Ravens.
Comment icon #32 Posted by FreddyScienceTeacher on 19 August, 2012, 3:33
At the cellular level, feathers and scales are indistinguishable from each other. Like the rhino horn being made of the same proteins as hair, you can get a very different result depending on Momma nature cooking in her kitchen.

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